Paid family leave, economic development, bike cops among 2020 priorities for Roeland Park council

Establishing a policy that allows 12 weeks of paid family leave for city employees, creating an economic development association, and adding a bicycle patrol unit to the police department were among the 2020 objectives recently discussed by Roeland Park councilmembers.

The family leave policy, introduced by councilmember Erin Thompson, would qualify city employees for up to 12 weeks of paid time off when they or their spouse give birth, adopt, or foster a child. Only employees who have worked for the city for at least one year would be eligible.

The objective would allow parents “to bond with children without any pressure of losing income.”

Councilmembers were overall supportive of the objective but voiced some concerns with how it could impact the city if multiple employees were out of the office at the same time.

“We are a small operation and we just have to make sure we are covered,” said councilmember Jim Kelly.

City administrator Keith Moody said if multiple absences were anticipated for extended periods of time he would recommend hiring temporary assistance.

Mayor Mike Kelly introduced an objective that would create the Roeland Park Economic Development Enterprise Association, which would be overseen by city officials and members of the governing body. The association would create a municipal enterprise that could buy and sell property located in Roeland Park, while acting as a tool “through which the character of the city could be better reflected in its commercial activity.”

Kelly said the association would give the city the opportunity to hold property and “be patient” while attracting amenities that are best for Roeland Park.

John Morris, Chief of Police for the Roeland Park Police Department, introduced an objective to add a police bicycle patrol unit in 2020. The unit would cost about $5,000 and would serve as an additional tool “to deter criminal activity specific to the business district and neighborhoods.”

The governing body will continue discussion of these, and other 2020 objectives, at an upcoming council meeting.